Our time spent in Luang Prabang was lovely, we decided to stay there 8 days and kick back. With its’ French Indochinese architecture, Buddhist temples and a magical atmosphere, it made for a wonderful place to relax and sample a small part of Laos. The town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, rests between the banks of the Mekong and the Nan Khong rivers. It has a sleepy, laid back feel, which we all really enjoyed after the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai.
We ate some of the best food we have had so far, we loved the quiet and relaxed night market and watching hundreds of vivid orange clothed monks wander around, due to its vast array of glittering Wats. Freda seems fascinated by the monks and Buddha, I think mainly due to the golden bling and the offerings given to Buddha. To be honest, I think she is quite jealous when she stands at a Shrine for ages eyeing up the fizzy drinks and snacks that have been laid out, enquiring if they are for Buddha (or her)?
One thing we didn’t like, however, was because our hotel was just out of town, we had to walk across the old bridge to get into town, I’m not sure old is the word I would use……….
After a day or so of lazing by the pool, we set off for a trip to the Kuang Si waterfall. It’s about an hour out of town and a magnificent sight. As we are in the rainy season, there was a lot of water! We had a swim in the most sedate area of the falls, which was very refreshing but a tad too cold/scary for little Freda…….I think she was put off when she was told that there were little fishes in the river that nibbled your feet, which they did and it was a little off-putting. At the waterfall there was a rescue centre for Moon bears, an eye opener to the horrific practices these bears suffer…….anyone interested, take a look at the website! http://freethebears.org
After a bumpy journey back to town, we decided to jump on one of the many boats offering a sunset cruise. It seemed like a popular pastime watching the sunset, so I decided to make it my mission to see one every night! That combined with a sundowner turned out do be a very nice way to kill an hour……
We then borrowed some bikes from the hotel for a few days and biked around the surrounding areas, stumbling across the local textiles area and a public swimming pool/bar with some little slides, so Freda was very happy, with the slides not so much the textiles!
We then decided as we’d been having such a tough time, we needed to treat ourself to a nice massage……so we headed to a spa for Mitch and I to be walked on, pulled into moves I don’t think Mitch thought he could get into and had our bones cracked. All the while, Freda sat on a bed in between us watching her iPad and occasionally looking up and laughing at the sight!
On the hotels recommendation, we decided to go to Tad Sae waterfall. It was closer than the other waterfall, just a 20 minute drive away, so we went on a tuktuk! This then turned up with a puncture so the guy proceeded to drive all over town to get his tyre changed, spare pumped up, collect money from various places, then the last straw being to fill up with petrol just before the fall. We arrived an hour and a half later! We then jumped on a very thin boat to the falls, which was quite a worry with a child like Freda…..but, anyway it was a lovely waterfall so worth the effort in the end.
We then jumped on a flight down to Siem Reap to meet up with my friend the goat, which we were all very excited about!
It was a short stay in Laos, we would have loved to have seen more, but the small bit of the country we did see was beautiful and incredibly enchanting.